Is fear really a liar?

We have been on lockdown for several weeks now. I know at the beginning of this pandemic, I got a few comments that were more or less, “Oh WOW, 9 kids at home! Good luck with THAT!” At first, the hardest thing about having everyone home was the disruption of sports schedules, to be honest. Although sports make our lives insane, it keeps us on a tight schedule that we’ve gotten used to and we look forward to (maybe we’re masochists?). I’ll have to admit, it’s been quite a bit busier during the day for me, with the younger kids needing help with homework and getting to “class” on time. Thankfully, I’ve been mostly successful! Ugh. But overall, it’s been OK. If anything, I’ve felt bad for other families with fewer kids. I can imagine how hard it would be for a child to only have a couple of other in-the-flesh people to talk to for days on end.

This entire experience though, has got me thinking about the idea of fear. We’re told, “Fear is a liar.” At least, that’s what the song says. But is it, really? Fear can be a very real thing for very real reasons. When we were first told to lockdown, I think the great majority of people took it very seriously. Especially because of all of the unknowns. There was a lot to fear. We weren’t sure how deadly this virus was going to be. We weren’t sure who it would affect. We weren’t sure how long it was going to last.

We now know much more information, but of course, there are still unknowns. Will we have a second wave? Will we get a vaccine soon for those of us that are immunocompromised? Will we overload the hospitals in the fall with potential new cases? Will we ever be able to enter a nursing home again? Will our economy be able to recover? All of the unknowns can be paralyzing. Fear can be crippling.

But at the end of the day, when we think about it, we’ve never known what the future would hold. Ever. We’re not God. We have control over so little. I tell my kids all the time how we have little to no control over our circumstances, but the one thing we have control over is our attitudes.

I just finished up reading some of the books that comprise Biblical Wisdom Literature. It’s fascinating to think about all of them and how they relate to each other. Proverbs seems to be so straightforward. Do these things, and life will go well for you. Then you have Job, which is more like, you can get slammed for no reason that you know of, even when you are doing all the right things. And of course, Ecclesiastes. The writer just seems to be so “done” with life in general. The word “hevel” is repeated 38 times throughout the book, referring to life. It means smoke or breath (it’s sometimes translated, “vanity”) – “…Vanity of vanities. All is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). So which one is most correct? I’d say all of them. Collectively.

Our lives are like smoke. They’re here one day and gone the next when taken in the context of a few thousand years (let alone, eternity!). We should pursue wisdom because who wants to be a fool? But sometimes, bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. That’s life. And again, there’s little we can do to change that. Embracing that fact and accepting it is one of the best things we can do, along with fearing God and keeping His commandments (Eccl 12:13). Not fearing people. Not fearing a virus. Not fearing a ginormous Japanese bee. But fearing God.

There is such freedom when we choose to trust in the LORD and fear Him and only Him. Does it change the situation? No. But it certainly changes our perspective and our attitude. It’s not that we walk through this life in ignorance or naivety. That’s foolishness. But knowing that our God is in control of things no matter what it may look like from the outside – that’s where you can find peace. So yes, misdirected fear is a liar, but fear in and of itself is not a bad thing when we focus that fear on the LORD (Prov. 9:10).

I don’t want to walk through this life in fear of a bunch of “what-if” scenarios. Will I still struggle with fear? You bet. I wish I could say no way, nu-uh, never. But I know myself too well. However, when I stop and think and pray and repent of my fear and think some more, that’s when I can focus on the Truth of Scripture and the Truth of where my Hope lies, and I can breathe a sigh of peace. And what’s awesome is that I can keep going to Him. He won’t get tired of me asking for reminders.

God is good. All the time. Choose to trust and fear Him as we move forward. School may be canceled. Chicken breast may be scarce. Life will be different. But we can know that God still sits on His throne. He is in control. He is worthy of our praise and trust. He is our peace.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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